It is just the second time I’ve talked about Resident Evil here on Rice Digital, the other being my look at a humorous indie dating sim set in the world of Resident Evil 4. It’s what you have come to expect from our area of expertise after all.
As a player who is not the most familiar with the Resident Evil series, I’ve still had my fair share of uncomfortably enjoying a portion of its titles, even if they put me on the edge of my seat.
The much-appreciated HD remaster of the first ever installment in the series allowed unfamiliar players like myself to experience why it was so critically acclaimed first-hand. And Resident Evil 7 was a much needed overhaul that the series deserved — and needed — to keep fans remaining faithful to the games after some found Resident Evil 5 and 6 to be a letdown. It also grabbed the attention of a lot of new players.
And if there’s one AAA title that has me the incredibly excited for its release this year, it’s Resident Evil Village. So let’s sit back together and rejoice in its soon to be release.
Familiar faces, new enemies
Resident Evil Village has Ethan Winters returning as the protagonist, as well as the reappearance of Chris Redfield, who seems to be a villain this time around — or at least an anti-hero.
We will not know of his true intentions until the game drops; all we know for now is the fact that he is the reason Ethan is trapped in this village, and he may have killed Ethan’s wife Mia — the one we went to such great lengths to find and save in the previous game. His ultimate goal could be for good or bad; at this point we just don’t know.
It’s an interesting take on his character, and plenty of us will be excited for where this takes both reoccurring characters.
Another character who can be seen in its trailers and more recently in the demo is the Duke, whose job of selling Ethan useful items and enhancements is a callback to the Merchant in Resident Evil 4.
It is one of plenty more references and inspirations Resident Evil 8 has adopted from its previous installments, effectively setting up the game to be as amazing as it can be. Additionally, players can cook in the Duke’s kitchen as a way to boost Ethan’s stats. A nice little RPG cooking mechanic on the side is always appreciated, especially if it’s for helping us survive a chance encounter with a tall, thirsty vampire lady.
A premise brimming with potential
The influence of Resident Evil 4 is apparent throughout, whether it’s in the exploration of an atmospheric and oppressive village, to the tense combat, designed to cause us even more discomfort and panic.
To further the uniqueness of Village as a stand-out setting in the series, the conceptualisation of its varied monsters such as mermen and ghosts, and its iconic “tall lady” are unlike any other villains the series has ever seen.
The werewolves are a nice change of pace from zombies as a possible nod at the overarching “mutation” plotline involving Umbrella, and our Lady Dimitrescu with her three daughters as unconventional vampires adds to the appealing premise of a Village with a more Gothic Victorian aesthetic.
Additionally, the contrast in family dynamics is an exciting element I hope is pursued in its narrative, since Lady Dimitrescu’s parenting of her three daughters could be juxtaposed or compared to Ethan’s journey in locating his only daughter.
The inventory is yet another element shared with Resident Evil 4, and the returning crafting system adds another mechanic with great potential to delve into as we pursue Ethan’s freedom.
Resident Evil Village is clearly borrowing from the series’ previous high points, including a castle segment featuring a similar aesthetic to Resident Evil 4, and a focus in exploration as seen in Resident Evil 7 in its first-person mode.
It appears that Resident Evil Village will make existing fans happy, while newcomers will be drawn in to this new take on villains and modern Resident Evil gameplay.
A tall order
Resident Evil Village has a lot to live up to for the series, and as a follow-up to Resident Evil 7, it’s certainly a tall order.
While its demo consisting of two parts spanning thirty minutes each seemed like a questionable decision to many, it provided enough of a tease to see what Resident Evil Village is shaping up to be. As we can expect, its seamless gameplay to cut-scene transitions are immersive and builds upon the already penetrating atmosphere since you never quite know when to expect the series’ always well executed frights — Lady Dimitrescu barging into the Castle’s door, anyone?
While the demos suffered from a few hiccups, such as some surprisingly low-resolution textures in parts of the environment and being a little heavy on the cutscenes — especially considering the time limit — they also showed how much we can look forward to.
The snowy, outdoors landscape has plenty of puzzles waiting to be solved, while the Castle’s abstract layout looks to contain many hidden passages and secret rooms to discover.
I, for one, cannot wait to jump into it, and my appreciation extends to whoever may cover Lady Dimitrescu in a future piece of our weekly Waifu Wednesday column. Because you know it’s happening. Thanks to you too, Capcom, for uniting the Internet once more on that one.
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